'... some of the most anguished, most memorable music around.' - The New York Times
American neo-romantic composer Christopher Rouse was born on 15 February 1949 in Baltimore, Maryland. He began composing in 1956, and studied with Richard Hoffmann at Oberlin Conservatory, privately with George Crumb, and with Karel Husa at Cornell University.
From 1985 until 1988 he was composer-in-residence with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. His Trombone Concerto won a 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Music. In 1997 he was composer-in-residence at Tanglewood and at the Helsinki Biennale, and the following year at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan. He was also composer-in-residence annually at Aspen from 2000 onwards. In 2002 his Concert de Gaudí won a Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition, and he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was Musical America's Composer of the Year in 2009, and the New York Philharmonic's composer-in-residence from 2012 until 2015.
Christopher Rouse. Photo © 2007 Jeff Herman
He taught at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) from 1978 until 1981, the Eastman School of Music (1981-2002) and at Juilliard from 1997. His students included Michael Torke, Nico Muhly, Kevin Puts and Kamran Ince.
Known best for his orchestral music, including six symphonies, twelve concertos and a ninety minute Requiem (2001-2), he also wrote for various other ensembles, including chamber music, solo works, and music for percussion ensemble. Often he sought to integrate tonal and non-tonal harmonic worlds, incorporated electric guitar and rock motifs, and spoke of writing loud music 'to convey a sense of expressive urgency'.
He died from cancer at a hospice in Towson, Maryland on 21 September 2019, aged seventy.
CD Spotlight. A Master Orchestrator - The New York Philharmonic plays Christopher Rouse, highly recommended by Geoff Pearce. '... a fantastic whirl of sound and energy, guaranteed to make the most jaded listener sit up on the edge of the seat.'
Ensemble. Geological Imagery - Sinfonia Viva's schools residency project moves Mike Wheeler
Ensemble. Superb performances - Alsop triumphs at Tanglewood, by Lawrence Budmen